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1. Whether the parody column published by Silbil Magazine featuring Baba Satyanand in liquor
advertisement was defamatory thereby causing him mental distress.

Every man is entitled to have his reputation. Jurist Blackstones has added to this proposition and indicated
that Every man is entitled to have his reputation preserved inviolate. A man's reputation is his property.
Depending upon perception of that man, reputation is more valuable to him than any other property.
Reputation is the state of being held in high esteem and honor or the general estimation that the public has
for a person. Reputation depends on opinion, and opinion is the main basis of communication of thoughts
and Information amongst humans. In simpler words, reputation is nothing but enjoyment of good opinion on
the part of others. So, the right to have reputation involves right to have reputation inviolate or intact.

The definition of defamatory statement as given in Salmond and Heuston on the law of Torts, twentieth
edition is stated as:

A defamatory statement is one, which has a tendency to injure the reputation of the person to whom it
refers; which tends, that is to say, to lower him in the estimation of right thinking members if society
generally and to cause him to be regarded with feelings of hatred, contempt, ridicule, fear, dislike, or
disesteem. The statement is judged by the standard of an ordinary, right-thinking member of society. Hence
the test is an objective one, and it is no defence to say that the statement was not intended to be defamatory,
or uttered by way of a joke. A tendency to injure or lower the reputation of the plaintiff suffices, for if words
are used which impute discreditable conduct of my friend, he has been defamed to me, although i do not
believe the imputation, and may even know that it is untrue, hence, it is settled that a statement may be
defamatory although no one to whom it is published believes it to be true.

As per Blacks Law Dictionary1, defamation means the offence of injuring a person's character, fame, or
reputation by false and malicious statements. The term seems to be comprehensive of both libel and slander.
Defamation in law, is attacking anothers reputation by a false publication (communication to a third party)
tending to bring the person into disrepute. The concept is an elusive one and is limited in its varieties only
by human inventiveness. Although defamation is a creation of English law, similar doctrines existed several
thousand years ago. French defamation law, required conspicuous retraction of libellous material in
newspapers and allowed truth as a defence only when publications concerned public figures.2

It is submitted before the Honble Court that defamation requires the publication be false and without the
consent of the allegedly defamed person. Words or pictures are interpreted according to common usage and
in the context of publication. Injury only to feelings is not defamation; there must be loss of reputation. The

defamed person need not be named but must be ascertainable . Actual truth of the publication is usually a
defence to a charge of defamation.

Furthermore, Defamation is the publication of a statement which reflects on a persons reputation and tends to
lower him in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally or tends to make them shun or avoid

There have been various instances where significance of right to reputation has been witnessed. The Preamble
to the Constitution plays an important role in interpreting the freedoms mentioned in Article 19. The ideals
mentioned in the Preamble cannot be divorced from the purpose and objective of conferring the rights. The
freedom of 43 speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) must take colour from the goals set out in the
Preamble and must be read in the light of the principles mentioned therein. The Preamble seeks to promote
Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation. In its widest
meaning and amplitude, fraternity is understood as a common feeling of brotherhood. While justice, liberty and
equality have been made justifiable rights under the Constitution, the idea of fraternity has been used to
interpret rights, especially horizontal application of rights. The Preamble consciously chooses to assure the
dignity of the individual, in the context of fraternity, before it establishes the link between fraternity and unity
and integrity of India. The rights enshrined in Part III have to be exercised by individuals against the backdrop
of the ideal of fraternity, and viewed in this light, Article 19(2) incorporates the vision of fraternity. Hence, the
restriction imposed by the statutory provision satisfies the content of constitutional fraternity. The fraternal ideal
finds resonance also in Part IVA of the Constitution.

In the celebrated judgment of Ram Jhetmalani v. Subramaniam Swamy4, the Court defined defamation as a
public communication which tends to injure the reputation of another. It dwelled upon the balance between the
right to reputation and held that law of defamation, by making actionable certain utterances, runs counter to
another widely accepted legal tenet- the right to freedom of expression, but the two have been harmonised by
judicial process so that an individuals right to privacy and right to reputation is preserved and at the same time
right to freedom of expression is also protected. The Honble Court also explained the defences of truth, fair
comment and privilege available in a suit for defamation as under:

Truth or justification is a complete defence. In public interest absolute privilege is a complete defence. Thus,
it is humbly submitted that the advertisement published by Silbil Magazine is not connected to reality in any
manner and also the Magazine has not provided a fair justification for publishing the column. The reputation of
Baba Satyanand is of paramount importance to him and his followers and anything which is not even true, if
endangers the reputation of a well-renowned public figure should not be tolerated.
In the Geeta Lord Krishna said to Arjun :

akrti chpi bhtni

te vyaym

sambhvitasya chkrtir

mara d atirichyate

(Geeta : Chapter 2 Shloka 34) which means -

"For a self respecting man, death is preferable to dishonour"

It is further submitted that the international human right treaties explicitly provide for the right to reputation as
well as right to free speech and expression. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights, 1948 in Article 12
clearly stipulates that no one shall be subjected to attack on his honour and reputation. Scrutinising on this
score, it cannot be said that reputation should be allowed backseat whereas freedom of speech and expression
should become absolutely paramount. The right to privacy is respected, and will give way only in case the
truthful disclosure, albeit private, is meant for public good. The right to protection of reputation and the right to
freedom of speech and expression are seemly balanced.

In the case of Subramaniam Swamy v. Union of India, Ministry of Law & Ors. 5 It was held that Articles 14 and
19 have now been read to be a part of Article 21 and, therefore, any interpretation of freedom of speech under
Article19(1)(a) which defeats the right to reputation under Article 21 is untenable. The freedom of speech and
expression under Article 19(1)(a) is not absolute but is subject to constrictions under Article19 (2). Restrictions
under Article 19(2) have been imposed in the larger interests of the community to strike a proper balance
between the liberty guaranteed and the social interests specified under Article19(2). Ones right must be
exercised so as not to come in direct conflict with the right of another citizen. The argument of the petitioners
that the criminal law of defamation cannot be justified by the right to reputation under Article 21 because one
fundamental right cannot be abrogated to advance another, is not sustainable. It is because (i) the right to
reputation is not just embodied in Article 21 but also built in as a restriction placed in Article 19(2) on the
freedom of speech in Article 19(1)(a); and (ii) the right to reputation is no less important a right than the right to
freedom of speech. iii. Article 19(2) enumerates certain grounds on which the right to free speech and
expression can be subjected to reasonable restrictions and one such ground is defamation. 51 Although libel
and slander were included in the original Constitution, yet the same were deleted by the First Amendment,
whereas defamation continues to be a part of the Constitution. Therefore, it is fallacious to argue that
defamation under Article 19(2) covers only civil defamation when at the time of the enactment of the
Constitution, Section 499 IPC was the only provision that defined defamation and had acquired settled judicial
meaning as it had been on the statute book for more than 90 years. iv. Sections 499 and 500 of IPC continue to
serve a public purpose by defining a public wrong so as to protect the larger interests of the society by providing
reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2) of the Constitution. It is incorrect to suggest that the purpose, logic
and rationale of criminal defamation no longer subsists in the modern age, and the law having served its goal, it
must be struck down as violative of Article 14. Arguably, in the modern age, the need for the law is even

stronger than it was in the 19th century. The constitutional validity of a statute would have to be determined on
the basis of its provisions and on the ambit of its operation as reasonably construed as has been held in Shreya
Singhal v. Union of India6.

Moreover, given the presumption of constitutionality, it has also been held by this Court that in judging the
reasonableness of restrictions, the Court is fully entitled to take into consideration matters of common report,
history of the times and matters of common knowledge and the circumstances existing at the time of legislation.
The concept reasonable restriction conveys that there should not be excessive or disproportionate restriction.
Merely because law of criminal defamation is misused or abused would not make the provisions
unconstitutional if they are otherwise reasonable. In the matter at hand......................

Moreover, in D.P. Choudhary and Ors. V. Kumari Manjulata7, it was said that if a false news item is published in
a newspaper, whoever reads it he has his own reservations about whom a false report is published. The object of
law of defamation is to protect an individuals interest in his reputation. It is no defence in a suit for defamation
that the defendant didnt intend to injure the plaintiffs reputation, if, in fact, it has been injured. Even if the
defendant bonafidely believed in the truth of the words published, he will still be liable unless the defence of
privilege is raised.

Furthermore, in R. RajGopal and anr. V. State of Tamil Nadu 8, it was said that no one can publish anything
about anyone without his/her consent whether truthful or otherwise and whether laudatory or critical. If he does
so, he would be violating the other persons right to privacy.

Right to privacy is not expressly guaranteed. However, the Supreme Court in Kharak Singh's 9 case held
that right to privacy is a guaranteed right under the Constitution of India. In Rajagopal v. State of Tamil Nadu,
and in P.U.C.L. v. Union of India10, the Supreme Court reiterated the law that right to privacy is part of
the right to 'life' and 'personal liberty' enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution. In these decisions, the
Supreme Court placed reliance on the International Treaties to which India is signatory and came to a
conclusion that Article 21 read with relevant Article in the International Treaty/Covenant would lead to a
conclusion that right to privacy is part of Article 21.

It is humbly submitted to the Honble Court that in case of Mr. Umar Abid Khan and others v. Vincy Gonsalves
and Ors.11 in paragraph 35 of the precedent, defamation and freedom of speech is distinguished in words as-

Every person has a legal right to perceive his reputation inviolate in law, it has been accepted as personal
property and it is jus in rem a right good against the entire world. A mans reputation is property and degree of
suffering occasioned by the loss of reputation as compared to that occasioned by loss of property is greater. The

Court therefore must draw a balance between freedom of speech and protecting the reputation of an

Next to life, what man cares most is their reputation. Baba Satyanand is popular and respectable for his honest
conduct and teachings. His followers are immensely influenced and the parody column is inflicted to harm the
reputation and goodwill of appellant in the eyes of right thinking members of society as well as among the
public at large. The publication of August issue would cause irreparable damage to appellants reputation as
guarded by Art.2112 of Indian Constitution, and the freedom of press isnt an excuse to malign the reputation of
any person.

It ....................The respondents have no right to culminate the reputation of the plaintiff without there being any
factual basis.

In case of Selvi J. Jayalalithaa v. R. Rajagopal 13, the Madras High Court observed that journalists after
investigating are entitled to do criticism, but without touching the reputation and without exceeding the limits
and bounds made by law, since law wouldnt permit anyone to ...........his freedom of speech and expression as
to injure anothers reputation or to indulge what may be called character assassination.

In the case of K.V Ramniah v. Special Public Prosecutor 14, the question as to the nature of freedom of speech in
Article 19(1) of the Constitution came up for consideration before the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, wherein
the Division Bench held that

Freedom of speech in Article 19(1) cannot be taken to mean absolute freedom to say or write whatever a
person chooses recklessly and without regard to any persons honour and reputation. The right guaranteed by
the Constitution, it must be borne in mind, is to all the citizens alike. The right in one certainly has a
corresponding duty and judged in that manner also, the right guaranteed cannot but be a qualified one. Indeed
the right has its own natural limitation. Reasonably limited alone, it is an estimable privilege. Without such
limitations it is bound to be a scourge to Republic.


The parody column published by Silbil magazine was defamatory and caused mental distress to Baba
Satyanand. Baba Satyanand is a well renowned public figure and the publication made by silbil magazine
featuring Baba Satyanand in an advertisement illustrating description of importance of liquor by Baba
Satyanand is in complete contravention to his prominent teaching, i.e., not to touch liquor has caused hurt
to religious feelings of followers and injury to the reputation of Baba Satyanand. The followers of Baba
Satyanand possess a strong belief system as a result of which they have developed a sect called satyas and

such an advertisement making fun of their godly figure and subsequently insulting the person who they
admire is altogether outrageous.